The Blacktail Snapper (Lutjanus fulvus) is also known as the Flametail Snapper, Redmargined Seaperch, Taiva, Waigeu Snapper and Yellowmargined Sea Perch.
Blacktail Snapper have a typical snapper shape and the body has a silver color with a series of thin horizontal yellow lines that run parallel across the body. Across the face the yellow lines are disjointed. These lines are more visible in some specimens than others. The caudal fin is black but can have a red tint depending on the angle one views it from and the dorsal fin is dark red edged in black at the rear. The eye is ringed in yellow. The largest specimens we have seen have been around 35 cm but they grow up to 40 cm.
BLACKTAIL SNAPPER IN THE WILD
The Blacktail Snapper is generally seen solitary or in small groups but this may be as a result of overfishing in the areas we have dived in.
Blacktail Snapper are widely distributed across the tropical Indo-Pacific, from East Africa up to the Red Sea and across to the Ryukyu Islands in southern Japan and down to North Eastern Australia and Samoa. We have seen them on reef tops and on rubble areas down to depths of approximately 20 meters.
Blacktail Snapper have a varied diet, feeding on fishes and crustaceans. The juveniles are reported to favor crustaceans while the adults prefer small fishes. Their diets vary with maturity and locally available prey items.
Blacktail Snapper reach sexual maturity at approximately 3 years for males and 4 years for females. The adults group spawn in large numbers and the eggs which are round and transparent float off in the current. After undergoing a pelagic stage the juveniles make their way back to the reefs. Group spawning usually takes place in areas of strong current. Research in Japan found that spawning took place either on the full moon or on the last quarter moon.
Blacktail Snapper are exploited commercially. In Tanzania they are caught by fishermen in traps and on lines and are occasionally netted in the shallows. They are usually sold fresh and are a highly sought after fish in restaurants. They are tasty to eat. Because local fishermen are able to track their group spawning locations and times they are vulnerable to overfishing. The larvae from wild spawned eggs have been raised in captivity.
BLACKTAIL SNAPPER CLASSIFICATION
Species: L. fulvus
Allen, G.R. 1985. FAO Species Catalogue. Snappers of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of lutjanid species known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 6. Rome : FAO 2